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NATIONAL Asylum-seekers, equality updates, cannabis, HIV and COVID
by Windy City Times staff
2023-01-15

This article shared 1770 times since Sun Jan 15, 2023
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Advocacy groups that specifically work with LGBTQI+ asylum-seekers and migrants criticized the Biden administration's expansion of the use of "expedited removal" of Cubans, Nicaraguans, Haitians and Venezuelans who enter the country from Mexico without legal authorization, South Florida Gay News reported. San Diego Pride Executive Director Fernando Z. Lopez said, "asylum is a human right and an LGBTQ issue," noting consensual same-sex sexual relations are still illegal in 68 countries and "people can be put to death simply for being themselves" in 10 of them.

The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) shared LGBTQ+ equality updates for January. Among other developments, new Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs issued an executive order expressly prohibiting discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Also, Nevada voters approved a constitutional Equal Rights Amendment in the November 2022 general election that, among other things, enshrined LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination protections into the state's constitution. In addition, anti-bias ordinances were passed in Chandler, Arizona; Fairmont, West Virginia; and Casper, Wyoming.

Housing Works, a non-profit fighting homelessness and HIV/AIDS, opened New York state's first recreational cannabis store last month, Gay City News reported. Crowds of cannabis shoppers made their way to the dispensary, Housing Works Cannabis Co., on Dec. 29 and stood in a line that wrapped around the block. Housing Works CEO Charles King said the lines haven't relented since the dispensary opened.

People living with HIV generally respond well to COVID-19 vaccines—especially if they receive booster shots—thereby dramatically reducing their risk of severe illness and death, according to a POZ item. However, those with poorly controlled HIV or advanced immune suppression may not fare as well, underlining the importance of antiretroviral treatment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now advises that the primary vaccine series for severely immunocompromised people—including those with advanced/untreated HIV—should consist of three doses of the mRNA vaccines, to be followed by recommended booster shots. The full article is at www.poz.com/article/evidence-covid-vaccines-work-people-hiv.

In a press release, SC United for Justice & Equality said that more than a dozen anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced as the 2023 state legislative season starts. Three measures would prohibit transgender-related healthcare, with two of them requiring school staff to "out" LGBTQ+ students to their parents, according to the organization. There are also three anti-LGBTQ+ youth policy bills and five others would seek to censor curriculum that speaks about racial injustice, LGBTQ+ identity and more.

Thirteen voting members of the 118th Congress identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual—the highest number of openly LGB members in history, according to the Pew Research Center. While small, the number of LGB lawmakers in Congress has steadily increased over the last decade. All are from the Democratic Party except for controversial first-term Congressperson George Santos.

The LGBTQ+-affirming organization the Metropolitan Community Church—also known as the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches—issued a press release about what it said is the still-unsolved murder of a D.C. trans woman. Rev. Elder Dwayne Johnson, senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, D.C. (MCCDC), said, "Though the killing of Jasmine 'Star' Mack has yet to be officially classified as a hate crime, it is clear that this murder is a part of a pattern of hate that must be named and rectified. MCCDC will continue to provide sanctuary and be a place where the experiences and voices of the TG+ community are welcomed and celebrated." Out noted that Mack was found lying in the street "in an unconscious and unresponsive state with an apparent stab wound to their right leg," according to a police report quoted by the Washington Blade, on Jan. 7. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at 202-727-9099; anonymous information may be submitted to the department's TEXT TIP LINE by sending a text message to 50411.

Also in D.C., drag performer Ba'Naka (real name: Dustin Michael Schaad) has died at age 36, The Washington Blade reported. Ryan Bos—executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.'s LGBTQ+ Pride events—said Schaad has performed as Ba'Naka at Capital Pride events over the years and called him "a supportive and valued member of our LGBTQ+ community."

Months after Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law passed, students at Jacksonville's Douglas Anderson School of the Arts feel they are already experiencing the effects of the bill's anti-LGBTQ+ censorship, Playbill noted. The production of the Paula Vogel-penned play Indecent has been shut down, replaced by Chekhov's The Seagull. Indecent depicts the true story of Jewish novelist Sholem Asch and the controversy surrounding his 1906 Yiddish play God of Vengeance. Notably, the work included a lesbian couple in its story, and is recorded as featuring the first ever kiss onstage between a lesbian couple in U.S. theater.

In New York, leaders of the Nassau County Republican Party called for U.S. Rep. George Santos, elected to represent New York's 3rd Congressional District in November, to resign from office over his lies about his personal life, CNN noted. Nassau County Republican Committee Chair Joseph G. Cairo said the congressman's campaign was made up "of deceit, lies and fabrication." The top Republicans in the House—Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Majority Whip Tom Emmer—did not answer questions from CNN about Santos (who has refused to step down) and the Nassau County GOP's calls for his resignation.

Pittsburgh nonprofits Proud Haven and Trans YOUniting teamed to open the new LGBT space called the Q-MNTY Center, WESA reported. The main space will also host events and public programs. Alex Smithson—resident advisor at Haven House, the transitional shelter operated by Proud Haven and TransYOUniting—said the center is partnering with local groups to host weekly yoga classes, and practices and competitions for Pittsburgh's ballroom scene.

In Arizona, some Republican lawmakers want to start regulating the drag-queen business there, Fox 10 Phoenix reported. Three new bills were introduced that would either limit or restrict drag shows, and the queens and their allies are preparing for a legal fight. State Sen. Anthony Kern proposed two of the bills—one to prevent drag shows or adult cabaret shows from happening in public where children might see, and another limiting the days and hours at which these shows can be performed, also setting more specific sites for where these shows can happen.

An effort to outlaw conversion therapy in Wisconsin was blocked for the second time by a group of four Republican members of a state legislative committee, according to The Washington Blade. In 2020, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers banned the scientifically discredited practice via occupational licensing requirements for therapists, social workers, and counselors.

The Republican-controlled legislature responded by temporarily blocking the ban, doing so again recently with all six GOP members voting against their Democratic colleagues. The GOP lawmakers claimed the Department of Safety and Public Standards does not have the authority to enforce the conversion-therapy ban. Twenty states and D.C. have banned conversion therapy for minors.

NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists is now accepting online nominations for its 2023 Excellence in Journalism Awards, per a press release. The Excellence in Journalism Awards are open to anyone, including non-members and journalists who do not identify as LGBTQ+. The deadline for submissions is noon ET on Wed., March 8. See www.nlgja.org/excellence-in-journalism-awards/ .

Former Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines and about two dozen demonstrators outside the NCAA convention in San Antonio, Texas, protested the inclusion of transgender athletes in women's sports and threatened the association with legal action if it doesn't change its policies, ESPN reported. Gaines competed in last year's NCAA swimming and diving championships against Penn's Lia Thomas, who became first trans woman to win a national title (in the women's 500-yard freestyle); she also placed fifth in the 200 freestyle, tying Gaines. The NCAA has permitted transgender athletes to compete since 2010; the Transgender Student-Athlete Participation Policy was updated last year, taking a sport-by-sport approach that brings the NCAA in line with the U.S. and international Olympic committees.

Openly gay Apple CEO Tim Cook is set to receive a pay cut this year following shareholder guidance and a "recommendation" from the executive himself after his compensation rose to $99.4 million during the 2022 fiscal year, per The Hollywood Reporter. For 2023, Cook's target compensation will drop to $49 million, which is a more than 40 percent drop from the CEO's 2022 target compensation. As a result, Cook's performance-based stock awards will rise to 75 percent beginning this year and in future years.

Three New York State lawmakers want answers from Yeshiva University (YU) after the school purported to be an "independent" and "non-sectarian" not-for-profit institution for funding purposes, but later claimed to be a "religious corporation" when it tried to ban an LGBTQ+ campus club, Gay City News reported. YU has been in a protracted legal fight against YU Pride Alliance, an undergraduate club seeking recognition on campus. The letter from state lawmakers was signed by out gay state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal as well as state Sens. Liz Krueger and Toby Ann Stavisky.

In Oregon, the Portland Pride Parade and Festival will take place in July this year, one month later than usual, in an effort to stop overlap with other local events (such as Juneteenth and the Delta Park Pow Wow), Oregon Live noted. "We have often been placed in a position of being seen as 'competing' with other community celebrations," said Pride Northwest Executive Director Debra Porta in a statement. The festival will be held on July 15-16, with the parade on July 16.

Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will prohibit the use of the term "Latinx" in government documents through an executive order, according to Yahoo! News. Sanders, the state's first female governor and a former White House press secretary, justified the ban of the word "Latinx" in government documents and name titles by citing a Pew Research poll that found only 3% of American Latinos and Hispanics used the term to describe themselves. Progressive groups and some politicians have pushed the term "Latinx" in recent years as a gender-neutral alternative to the Spanish words Latina and Latino.

A judge on the Brooklyn Surrogate's Court who said that "being gay is an abomination to mankind" is stepping down from the bench, LGBTQ Nation noted. Judge Harriet Thompson was suspended from her position in 2021 because of "serious allegations of bias and discrimination," which included racist and anti-gay remarks. "I hate these gay white men," Thompson, who is Black, is quoted as saying. She allegedly also said that "gay racist fa***ts" were "trying to ruin me and get me… Being gay is an abomination to mankind. The Holy Ghost [is] going to get them."

Southwest Airlines Co. said it made leadership changes across several departments in a bid to strengthen operations amid a recent technology meltdown that forced the carrier to cancel more than 16,700 flights, according to Reuters. The move comes days after Southwest forecast a pretax hit of $725 million to $825 million to quarterly earnings after chaos during the holiday season caused mass cancellations, launching scrutiny from the U.S. government. The carrier announced key leadership changes in departments including marketing and customer experience, culture and communications, legal-corporate and transactions, and sales.


This article shared 1770 times since Sun Jan 15, 2023
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